NHL Notes: Bruins goalie Thomas traded to Isles

NHL Notes: Bruins goalie Thomas traded to Isles
February 8, 2013, 9:00 am
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The Bruins traded suspended goalie Tim Thomas to the Islanders. (USA Today Images)

NEW YORK -- Veteran goalie Tim Thomas, who has said he won't play this season, was traded by the Boston Bruins to the New York Islanders on Thursday for a conditional second-round draft choice either next year or in 2015.

Thomas chose to take this season off following the NHL lockout and was suspended by the Bruins after he didn't report to training camp last month. The 38-year-old goalie is in the final season of a four-year deal that counts for $5 million against the salary cap.

The Islanders have plenty of room to fit Thomas' salary on their cap, and this deal provides financial flexibility for the Bruins. Boston was up against the upper salary limit of $70.2 million, with Thomas' salary factored in, and New York is only marginally above the minimum payroll of $44 million.

"We felt this would give us flexibility immediately. It was us being proactive," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on a conference call. "I've had discussions on and off with the Islanders regarding this for a while. I don't really want to get into details. I think I've made it known publicly this was something we would like to try to do at some point."

NHL teams must be in full compliance of the salary cap by Friday, the 20th day of the league season. The Islanders will be even further above the cap floor with the imminent return of defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who reported to the club for the first time on Wednesday and then passed a physical on Thursday, which led to New York lifting its suspension and placing him on the active roster.

"We have acquired an asset for our organization," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said of Thomas. "This acquisition allows us flexibility with our roster moving forward."

Thomas is unlikely to play for the Islanders this season or in the future. New York already has veteran goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro on its active roster (see full story).

Devils keeping Matteau for now
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils are keeping first-round draft pick Stefan Matteau with the NHL team for now.

The Devils put the 18-year-old Matteau in the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, marking his sixth game of the regular season. The decision means that the first year of his contract kicks in for this lockout-shortened 48-game season.

Matteau can still be sent down to play junior hockey, but his entry level contract is now active.

Matteau played in the first five games of the season without registering a point. He sat the past four while Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello made a decision on his status. He played at left wing on New Jersey's top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk.

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